Romans 16:5-12 Commentary

Romans 16:5 also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: kai ten kat' oikon auton ekklesian. aspasasthe (AAM) Epaineton ton agapeton mou, os estin (3SPAI) aparche tes Asias eis CHriston.

Romans — 3:21-5:21 Romans — 6:1-8:39 Romans — 9:1-11:36 Romans — 12:1-16:27
God's Holiness
God's Grace
God's Power
God's Sovereignty
Jew and Gentile
Gods Glory
Object of
of Sin
of Grace
Demonstration of Salvation
Power Given Promises Fulfilled Paths Pursued
Restored to Israel
God's Righteousness
God's Righteousness
God's Righteousness
God's Righteousness
God's Righteousness
Slaves to Sin Slaves to God Slaves Serving God
Doctrine Duty
Life by Faith Service by Faith

Modified from Irving L. Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's Survey of the NT"

ALSO GREET THE CHURCH THAT IS IN THEIR HOUSE: kai ten kat oikon auton ekklesiai:

Early congregations met in homes (1Cor 16:19; Col 4:15; Philemon 2) Bishop Lightfoot says there is no clear example of a separate building set apart for Christian worship within the limits of the Roman Empire before the third century. The Christian congregations were therefore dependent upon the hospitality of prominent church members who furnished their homes for this purpose..” In Ephesus the house of Prisca and Aquila was a meeting place for the saints (1Cor 16:19) as it was here in Rome. These facts provide a clue to the organization of the early church -- in a city with a Christian community of any size, there appear to be several "congregations" meeting in different houses , since there were no "church" buildings at this time.

Commenting on the absence of any church buildings until after the 3rd century Ray Stedman quips

"What a relief, not to be bothered with a church building program! People just got together where they could for larger meetings...(Prisca and Aquila) were a mighty influence for Christ wherever they went. Do you notice what Paul says about them here? Greet "also the church in their house." I think that is remarkable. Wherever this couple went, they soon had a church meeting in their house. (This, by the way, is the proper place for the church to meet.) In Mexico this week, after the Tuesday morning breakfast at which Ambassador Thomas Mann, the United States Ambassador to Mexico was present, he very graciously invited our entire team over to his house for tea one morning. We went over, and sat down with the ambassador, and talked about the problems of Mexico and the United States. Then he began telling us something about the church in Mexico. He spoke about how the church dominated the landscape and politics in certain areas, but how weak and ineffective it was in its ministry. I said to him, "Mr. Ambassador, is it not true that when the church is confined to a building, and thinks only of services within a specific center, it is never anything or of any influence at all? But, when the church begins to move out into the homes, and when the gospel is preached in the homes, this is what makes for a powerful and effective ministry?" And the ambassador said, "Exactly. Unless Christianity is lived in the heart and the home, it is of no use at all." This is what spread the gospel throughout the whole of the early world. Christians were not interested in trying to get people to come out to church, but, instead, invited them into their homes. In their homes they talked to them about Christ, and there it was that they won their neighbors to the Lord -- and, so, there began to be churches meeting in the homes." (Read the full sermon All in the Family)

IVP Background Commentary has some interesting insights

Small synagogues sometimes had to meet in homes before they could purchase buildings; many Greek religious associations did the same; churches did so for the first three centuries, using their income to buy slaves’ freedom, feed the poor and so forth, rather than to build edifices. In Rome, many well-to-do apartments existed above shops in multistory tenement buildings; Aquila and Priscilla probably lived above their artisan shop. (Keener, Craig: The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. 1994. IVP)

GREET EPAENETUS ("praised") MY BELOVED WHO IS THE FIRST CONVERT (literally "first fruit") TO CHRIST FROM ASIA: aspasasthe (2PAAM) Epaineton ton agapeton mou, os estin (3SPAI) aparchs tes Asias eis Christon: (Ro 16:5 16:8 16:9 16:12)

We do not know the names of any of Paul’s blood relatives--he didn’t talk about them--but we know the names of many of his spiritual relatives and here is one of his first spiritual offspring which undoubtedly helps explain why he was especially beloved.

First convert (536) (aparche) is literally first fruit and refers to an offering of any kind, animal as well as grain, but in the presence case speaking of Gentile converts who, analogous to the first portion of the OT offering, were also set aside specifically for the Lord.

In Romans 8 Paul wrote that...

we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. (see note Romans 8:23)

In chapter 11 Paul used this metaphor (first fruits) in explaining how Gentile salvation had Jewish roots writing...

"And if the first piece (first fruit = Abraham who was holy or set apart by God) of dough be holy, the lump is also; and if the root be holy, the branches (Gentile converts, the see of Abraham) are too." (Romans 11:16-note) Just as the first handful of ripened grain is a pledge of the entire harvest to follow, so the Holy Spirit is our pledge or guarantee that the full inheritance will be ours.

First fruits is related to the Jewish term that refers to that which is set apart to God before remainder could be used. Under the Law Israel was to bring the first fruits of the grain to the LORD and in this act they were acknowledging that all produce was God's. The first fruits of a harvest of grain was an indication of a greater harvest to come.

Paul utilizes the metaphor of first fruits in three ways in the NT:

(1) Of the relationship between the resurrection of Christ to the resurrection of the dead (1Cor 15:20, 23). Christ’s resurrection is the “first fruit of those who have fallen asleep” (1Cor 15:20), and like the first fruits of the harvest, it is a taste and a guarantee of the full harvest of resurrection yet to come.

(2) Likewise the Holy Spirit is called first fruit in (see note Romans 8:23) (cf. Holy Spirit as “down payment” 2Cor 1:22, 5:5; Ephesians 1:14-note), a foretaste of our divine life in the age to come.

(3) Finally when Paul speaks of his first converts in a region, he calls them the “first fruits” (cf "first fruits of Achaia" in 1Cor 16:15). Epaenetus ("praised") was the first convert (and predictive of a greater harvest to follow) from Asia who became part of Paul’s “offering of the Gentiles” to the Lord (Romans 15:16-note).

Ray Stedman comments that...

there is something precious about a first baby when it comes into the home. All the preparations that are made for it and the expectation of weeks and months -- everybody is holding their breath waiting for the baby to come. With the coming of the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, it gets rather commonplace -- but the first one is wonderful. Here was the first convert that Paul won to Christ in the province of Asia, where the city of Ephesus is located, and he never forgot him because he was the first fruit of Asia for Christ.

Romans 16:6 Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: aspasasthe (AAM) Marian, etis polla ekopiasen (3SAAI) eis humas.

GREET MARY WHO HAS WORKED HARD FOR YOU: aspasasthe (2PAAM) Marian, etis polla ekopiasen (3SAAI) eis humas: (Mt 27:55 1Ti 5:10)

Compare this verse with Paul's exhortation to those who had presented themselves to God as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1; 12:7; 12:11-see notes Ro 12:1; 12:7; 12:11).

Paul affectionately calls this industrious woman something like "Mary the toiler" (see below).

NIV more accurate to Greek = very hard, where very (4183) (polus) means literally much. It speaks of much in amount or quantity which intensifies an already strong verb, worked hard (see below)

The prominence of women’s names in this chapter emphasizes their wide sphere of influence in the early church. It is also of note that in addition to Mary, Paul places emphasis on the strenuous labor to the point of exhaustion of 3 other women , Tryphena, Tryphosa and Persis (see notes on Romans 16:12).

Worked hard - The opposite of "hardly worked"! Which describes you? Remember however that work for Christ needs to be "in Christ", enabled by Him and for the glory of the Lord, not self!

Worked (2872)(kopiao [word study] from kopos = labor, fatigue) This root word kopos (see word study) is used in secular Greek of “a beating,” “weariness” (as though one had been beaten) and “exertion,” was the proper word for physical tiredness induced by work, exertion or heat. Kopiao means to to exhibit great effort and exertion, to the point of sweat and exhaustion. To physically become worn out, weary or faint. To engage in hard work with the implication of difficulty and trouble.

Kopiao speaks of intense toil even to the point of utter exhaustion if necessary. The work described by kopiao was left one so weary it was as if the person had taken a beating. Kopiao describes not so much the actual exertion as the weariness which follows the straining of all one's powers to the utmost.

Lightfoot says that kopiao

is used especially of the labor undergone by the athlete in his training.

MacArthur adds that kopiao

does not stress the amount of work, but rather the effort. A man’s reward from God is proportional to the excellence of his ministry and the effort he puts into it. Excellence combined with diligence mark a man worthy of the highest honor. (MacArthur, John: 1Timothy Moody Press or Logos)

Thus Paul gives Mary a very high compliment when he says she worked very hard for you. Mary "the toiler" worked like a Trojan for the saints. Her works, though hidden from man (although not completely because Paul was clearly aware of her toilsome efforts), are with God; and her name is recorded with honor in this book of life. Living as a Christian is not a bed of roses; it is hard work.

Paul's use of the past tense clearly points to a past "job well done" and it is fascinating that without email, telephones, etc, he was able to deduce that Mary had exerted effort to the point of exhaustion for the believers in Rome! This information could only have come via letters or reports from other believers who had been at Rome. What an epitaph to have -- we should all desire such a God glorifying affirmation of "Well done thou good and faithful servant." (Mt 25:21,23).

APPLICATION: Would Paul call you "_______ the toiler?" Paul is not praising her for work performed in her own strength...the only truly praiseworthy "good works" (Click notes on good deeds ) that will endure throughout eternity are those done through the saint surrendered to the Lord Jesus and performing the works in the power of the Holy Spirit and for the glory of the Father.

William Newell makes an interesting comment...

Now in what did their "labor" consist? Certainly not merely in getting chicken dinners for preachers! It is a spiritual activity here spoken of! As Paul says of Euodia and Syntyche, in [Philippians 4:2; 4:3-note] "comrade, I ask you also to help these women who have SHARED MY STRUGGLE (sunathleo [see study of root word athleo] describes an athletic contest in which the athletes cooperate as a team working in perfect coordination against a common opposition) in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. (Romans 16)

Romans 16:7 Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: aspasasthe (AAM) Andronikon kai Iounian tous suggeneis mou kai sunaichmalotous mou, oitines eisin (3PPAI) episemoi en tois apostolois, oi kai pro emou gegonan (3PRAI) en Christo.

GREET ANDRONICUS (man of victory) and JUNIAS (masculine or feminine) MY KINSMEN and MY FELLOW PRISONERS (literally fellow-captives in war): aspasasthe (2PAAM) Andronikon kai Iounian tous suggeneis mou kai sunaichmalotous mou:

Although "kinsman" normally refers to blood relatives, it can be extended to include fellow countrymen and in the context of this epistle probably refers to fellow Jews who are in Christ (cf "kinsman" in Ro 9:3 [note]). These kinsman were at some time in prison with Paul. Taking this term as figurative is very unlikely as Paul's other 2 NT uses of this term clearly refer to literal imprisonment (See note Colossians 4:10-note; Philemon 1:23)

Note that the NIV and NASB translate the second name with a masculine ending, "Junias" whereas the KJV and NKJV translate it with the feminine ending, "Junia".

MacArthur comments:

Because Junias may be a woman’s name, these two might have been husband and wife....Besides being Paul’s kinsmen, these two believers were at some time, perhaps even then, his fellow prisoners. Because Paul was often in prison (2Co11:23), their shared imprisonment could have been in any number of places. Because they were outstanding among the apostles, we can be sure that, like Paul, they were prisoners because of their faith."

WHO ARE OUTSTANDING AMONG THE APOSTLES, WHO ALSO WERE IN CHRIST BEFORE ME: episemoi en tois apostolois oi kai pro emou gegonan (3PRAI) en Christo: (Ro 8:1 Isa 45:25 John 6:56, 14:20, 15:2 1Co 1:30, 2Co 5:17,21 // Gal 1:22, 5:6, 6:15 Eph 2:10 1Jn 4:13, 5:20)

Outstanding (1978) (episemos) literally means "having a mark upon" and was used literally to describe money that had been stamped or coined (with a mark).

In this verse Paul uses episemos in a figurative sense to describe a "good mark" meaning those who is well–thought–of, splendid, outstanding, distinguished, eminent or illustrious. In short they have an excellent reputation.

This adjective was also used to describe a "bad" mark in Matthew's description of "the notorious prisoner, called Barabbas." (Mt 27:16).

"In Christ before me" is literally “they have become in Christ before me.” Paul says that "Andronicus and Junias" had became Christians before he did. In a passage that helps explain in Christ Paul wrote to the potentially prideful Corinthians that it was...

by His (God's) doing you are in Christ Jesus, Who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption (1 Cor 1:30)

These who were in Christ before Paul were at least potential targets of his venom described in

Saul still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord" (Acts 9:1)

What a difference the gospel of Jesus Christ makes in one's before and after lifestyle! If you were not saved as a child (a before/after change is often less apparent) but later in life (I was saved by mercy and grace through faith at age 39 - Praise the Lord!), you have undoubtedly got a "gutter to glory" testimony to some degree. And you need to share it without fear with those who are dead in their trespasses and sins! Don't keep the best thing that ever happened to you a secret! If you have not seen a radical change in your lifestyle (your desires, you hunger for the Word, your distaste for the old sins you used to love so much, etc), then you need to be sure that your walking the aisle, holding up your hand in an evangelistic service, etc, was not just a mere profession and your lack of a significant "about face" in your lifestyle or habits is a manifestation of the possibility that you do not have possession of the Christ (note "in Christ") and His indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9-note) Who gives you the "want to" to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Php 2:12; 13-see notes Php 2:12; 13). Please do not misunderstand. When one is saved, they don't turn into perfect "angels", but there is a distinct change, so that now the general direction of one's life instead of heading toward hell, is headed toward heaven. Salvation is far more than a "fire insurance" policy. It is a new life in Christ Who now lives in you to be your life (see note Colossians 3:4-note)

Note that Paul uses the perfect tense ("were") to indicate that they were at the time of writing still in Christ. Paul goes out of his way to use the perfect tense often when speaking of salvation, which emphasizes the eternal security of the believer, for the perfect tense is descriptive of a an event that has occurred in the past with present continuing results or effects.

MacArthur comments that...

The phrase outstanding among the apostles could have one of several meanings. It obviously does not refer to the office of apostle (apostolos). The term itself means simply “sent ones,” and in that sense refers to any believer whom the Lord sends forth in ministry. It seems likely that the meaning here is that Andronicus and Junias performed outstanding service in the Lord’s work while working among, and possibly under, some of the ordained apostles, such as Paul and Peter. That interpretation is supported by Paul’s remark that those two believers were in Christ before me, that is, were converted to Christ before he was. At the time of Paul’s conversion, most converts were still living in or near Jerusalem, where several of the Twelve were leaders in the church. If, therefore, Paul’s two kinsmen were converted before he was, it is likely that they lived in Jerusalem and performed their outstanding service among the apostles in that city. (MacArthur, J: Romans 9-16. Chicago: Moody Press or Logos)

Romans 16:8 Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: aspasasthe (AAM) Ampliaton ton agapeton mou en kurio.

GREET AMPLIATUS, MY BELOVED IN THE LORD : aspasasthe (2PAAM) Ampliaton ton agapeton mou en kurio: (Ro 16:5, 8, 9, 12) (Phil 4:1 1Jn 3:14)

Greet - 59x in 47v - Mt 5:47; 10:12; Mark 9:15; 15:18; Luke 1:40; 10:4; Acts 18:22; 20:1; 21:7, 19; 25:13; Rom 16:3, 5ff, 21ff; 1 Cor 16:19, 20; 2 Cor 13:12; Phil 4:21f; Col 4:10, 12, 14f; 1 Thess 5:26; 2 Tim 4:19, 21; Titus 3:15; Philemon 1:23; Heb 11:13; 13:24; 1 Pet 5:13f; 2 John 1:13; 3 John 1:15. NAS = acclaim(1), give...your greeting(1), greet(41), greeted(3), greeting(1), greets(5), paid their respects to(1), sends...greetings(4), taken...leave(1), welcomed(1).

My beloved in the Lord - What a wonderful way to characterize an individual! Indeed that is who we are in the Father's eyes! (Ep 5:1-note)

Beloved (27) (agapetos from agapao = to love, agape = unconditional love borne by Spirit - Gal 5:22-note) means beloved, dear, very much loved. Agapetos is love called out of one’s heart by preciousness of the object loved. Agapetos is used only of Christians as united with God or with each other in love. Agapetos is love called out of one’s heart by preciousness of the object loved.

God the Father uses this same word describing Jesus declaring that

This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased (Mt 3:17)

In fact the first 9 uses in the NT are of God the Father speaking of Christ, His beloved Son. This gives you some idea of the preciousness of the word "beloved"! This truth makes it even more incredible that Paul described the saints at Thessalonica (and by application all believers of all ages) as

brethren beloved (agapao) by God, His choice (1Th 1:4-note).

Beloved is a term of endearment and is someone that you love, and someone you are deeply devoted to. In the context of the New Testament agape love speaks of God’s divine and infinite love, a love that seeks the ultimate spiritual welfare of the one loved. Agapetos could be translated “divinely loved ones.”

Agapetos - 61x in 60v - Matt 3:17; 12:18; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; 12:6; Luke 3:22; 20:13; Acts 15:25; Rom 1:7; 11:28; 12:19; 16:5, 8f, 12; 1 Cor 4:14, 17; 10:14; 15:58; 2 Cor 7:1; 12:19; Eph 5:1; 6:21; Phil 2:12; 4:1; Col 1:7; 4:7, 9, 14; 1 Thess 2:8; 1 Tim 6:2; 2 Tim 1:2; Philemon 1:1, 16; Heb 6:9; Jas 1:16, 19; 2:5; 1 Pet 2:11; 4:12; 2 Pet 1:17; 3:1, 8, 14f, 17; 1 John 2:7; 3:2, 21; 4:1, 7, 11; 3 John 1:1f, 5, 11; Jude 1:3, 17, 20.

Romans 16:9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: aspasasthe (AAM) Ourbanon ton sunergon emon en CHristo kai Stachun ton agapeton mou

GREET URBANUS OUR FELLOW WORKER IN CHRIST: aspasasthe (2PAAM) Ourbanon ton sunergon hemon en Christo:

Urbanus = "refined or polite"

Fellow worker (4904) (sunergos [word study] from sun/syn = together with, speaks of an intimate relationship + érgon = work) means literally working together with and thus refers to a companion in work, a colleague, a co-laborer, a fellow laborer or fellow helper. Sunergos gives us our English word "synergy" which is defined as the interaction or working together of two (or more) agents or forces which produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their individual effects. This truth is worth pondering especially in light of Paul's repeated use in this chapter replete with specific names of other believers.

Sunergos-13x in 13v - Ro16:3, 9, 21 1Co 3:9 2Co 1:24, 8:23 Php 2:25, 4:3 Col 4:11 1Th 3:2 Philemon1:1, 24 3Jn 1:8

In the NT, sunergos is used only of a co–worker or helper in the Christian work. In each instance sunergos conveys the idea of an affectionate partnership and not merely that of an impersonal, official relationship. Paul twice specifically includes godly women among his fellow workers (Prisca or Priscilla Ro 16:3) and Euodia and Syntyche, two godly but quarreling members of the church at Philippi who had shared Paul’s “struggle in the cause of the gospel” (Php 4:3-note).

AND STACHYS (an ear of corn) MY BELOVED: kai Stachun ton agapeton mou: (Ro 16:5 16:8 16:9 16:12)

Paul had a deep and sincere love for fellow believers and for fellow workers in particular, no matter how little known they were or how insignificant their service was from a purely human perspective.

Newell comments:

How wonderfully does the heart of this apostle retain personal names and maintain special love!" Let us be encouraged to do likewise." (Romans 16)


A Heart Full Of People - Paul's letter to the Romans is considered the theological centerpiece of the New Testament. Yet this grand statement of doctrine concludes with a personal greeting from the apostle to a host of people, 27 of whom are mentioned by name. He also refers to "our sister," "servant," "helper," "fellow worker," "beloved," "countrymen," "fellow prisoners," "brethren," and "saints."

I read a letter recently, a tribute to a Christian man who has personally influenced thousands of people over the past 50 years. He loves and teaches the Word of God. He welcomes everyone with open arms, shows his appreciation for them, and offers the gift of friendship. Many who met him when they were not followers of Christ are now among his brothers and sisters in the faith.

The apostle Paul's keen mind was filled with doctrine, but his heart was full of people. He wrote to the Thessalonians, "What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy" (1Th 2:19, 20-ntoe).

This combination of commitment to truth and compassion for people is the hallmark of everyone who, like Paul, reflects the mind and heart of Christ. — David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Compassion touches people's hearts
Much more than words alone,
But love must be combined with truth
For faith to be full grown. --Sper

You can measure your love for God by your love for others.

Romans 16:10 Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: aspasasthe (AAM) Apellen ton dokimon en CHristo. aspasasthe (AAM) tous ek ton Aristoboulou

GREET APELLES THE APPROVED (Tried and true) IN CHRIST:aspasasthe (2SAMM) Apellen ton dokimon en Christo:


That is a remarkable word there. I think if I had a choice of something written on my tombstone after my death, it would be those words -- "approved in Christ." Think of that! And, for each one, he selects a special word concerning them that is characteristic of them.

Approved (1384) (dokimos = tested and thus reliable or acceptable - see study of related word dokimazo) was used to describe precious metals such as gold or silver that were refined by fire and proven genuine, having passed the test for purity.

Whatever his field of service in Christ may have been, Apelles performed it well. This is what we all desire to hear from our Lord "Well done, my good and faithful servant" (Mt 25:21, 23, Lk 19:17). Compare this to the "assaying" of one's "works" as to whether the works originated from fleshly efforts or were done "in Christ" and therefore were able to stand the refining process (1Co 3:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, cp Martha - Lk 10:38, 39, 40, 41, cp 1Co 4:5, Jn 15:5).

GREET THOSE WHO ARE OF THE HOUSEHOLD OF ARISTOBULUS: aspasasthe (2PAAM) tous ek ton Aristoboulou:

This probably refers to his slaves rather than his kinsmen. Paul’s next greeting was to a group of believers whose names and number we do not know. They are simply identified as those who are of the household of Aristobulus, who himself is not identified. Because he is not greeted, it seems certain he was not a Christian. The Greek phrase says only “of Aristobulus,” the word household being implied. How many of his household were Christians, and whether they were family members, servants, or both we are not told.

Romans 16:11 Greet Herodion, my kinsman. Greet those of the household of Narcissus, who are in the Lord. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: aspasasthe (AAM) Erodiona ton suggene mou. aspasasthe (AAM) tous ek ton Narkissou tous ontas (PAPMPA) en kurio

GREET HERODION, MY KINSMAN: aspasasthe (2PAAM) Erodiona ton suggene mou:

Paul’s physical kinsman and therefore a Jew. That is all he says. It is suggest that this man is not yet a believer, and all Paul can say of him is that he is a relative. We cannot be dogmatic.

GREET THOSE OF THE HOUSEHOLD OF NARCISSUS, WHO ARE IN THE LORD: aspasasthe (2PAAM) tous ek ton Narkissou tous ontas en kurio:

Like Aristobulus, Narcissus was probably not a believer, but some of those of his household were in the Lord., i.e., they were genuine believers, "safe" in the Ark Who is Christ, Who will deliver all believers from the wrath to come (1Th 1:10-note)

In the Lord - The phrase "in Christ", "in Christ Jesus" or "in the Lord" is repeated 10x in 26 verses (Ro 16:2, 16:3, 16:7; 16:8; 16:9; 10; 11; 12; 13; 22-See notes Ro 16:2, 3, 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 13; 22). Paul's emphasis should likewise be our emphasis -- anything we are, anything we do in ministry is all from Him and to Him and through Him. To God be the glory. (cf note Romans 15:18)

Related Resource: in Christ, in Christ Jesus , in Christ [2]

Romans 16:12 Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, workers in the Lord. Greet Persis the beloved, who has worked hard in the Lord (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: aspasasthe (AAM) Truphainan kai Truphosan tas kopiosas (PAPFPA) en kurio. aspasasthe (AAM) Persida ten agapeten, etis polla ekopiasen (3SAAI) en kurio.

GREET TRYPHAENA and TRYPHOSA WORKERS IN THE LORD: aspasasthe (2PAAM) Truphainan kai Truphosan tas kopiosas (PAPFPA) en kurio:

Tryphaena - "delicate"

Tryphosa - "dainty"

Workers - here a verb kopiao is used with the sense of a noun.

Workers (2872) (kopiao from kopos = labor, fatigue) This root word kopos (see word study) is used in secular Greek of “a beating,” “weariness” (as though one had been beaten) and “exertion,” was the proper word for physical tiredness induced by work, exertion or heat. Kopiao means to to exhibit great effort and exertion, to the point of sweat and exhaustion. To physically become worn out, weary or faint. To engage in hard work with the implication of difficulty and trouble.

In the Lord - In the sphere, the "atmosphere", the power, the will of the Lord. This work will surely bear fruit and it will remain at the Judgment Seat of Christ (see bema and 2Co 5:9-note, 2Co 5:10-note).

J. Knox comments

One cannot fail to be slightly amused by the allusion to these workers in the Lord, 'Dainty' and 'Delicate'.

This is especially notable in that Paul's mention of exhausting work is restricted to these women and Mary (Ro 16:6-note)! So much for Paul's misogynistic "male chauvinism"! “Delicate” and “dainty” may have characterized their lives before salvation, but spiritually they were active and faithful workers in the Lord. For some additional comments on the valuable ministries of women click the following link for an evangelical's response to feminism) as well as the full text of the book "Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood" edited by Wayne Grudem and John Piper.

GREET PERSIS THE BELOVED, WHO HAS WORKED HARD IN THE LORD: aspasasthe (2PAAM) Persida ten agapeten, etis polla ekopiasen (3SAAI) en kurio: (Ro 16:5, 8, 9, 12)

Persis doubtless received her name from her native land of Persia. Not only was she the beloved, suggesting (by the definite article the) she was loved by everyone who knew her, but she also was one who had worked hard in the Lord. Note that Paul speaks of the men to whom he is especially attached, (like Stachys in Ro 16:9 [note]), as "my beloved, " and of a woman as "the beloved." He is careful in these matters.

Worked hard (2872) (kopiao from kopos = labor, fatigue) This root word kopos (see word study) is used in secular Greek of “a beating,” “weariness” (as though one had been beaten) and “exertion,” was the proper word for physical tiredness induced by work, exertion or heat. Kopiao means to to exhibit great effort and exertion, to the point of sweat and exhaustion. To physically become worn out, weary or faint. To engage in hard work with the implication of difficulty and trouble.

Kopiao speaks of intense toil even to the point of utter exhaustion if necessary. The work described by kopiao was left one so weary it was as if the person had taken a beating. Kopiao describes not so much the actual exertion as the weariness which follows the straining of all one's powers to the utmost.

Lightfoot says that kopiao

is used especially of the labor undergone by the athlete in his training.

MacArthur adds that kopiao

does not stress the amount of work, but rather the effort. A man’s reward from God is proportional to the excellence of his ministry and the effort he puts into it. Excellence combined with diligence mark a man worthy of the highest honor. (MacArthur, John: 1Timothy Moody Press or Logos)

Ray Stedman comments that then Paul

greets the beloved Persis, who is another lady who has worked hard in the Lord. You know, the interesting thing is that, as he goes through this letter, all the women he greets he characterizes as hard workers. I think this is very significant. What would we do without the ministry of women in the church? The men, you know, are of the "executive" type, mostly. They love to plan. It is the women who do the work; and it was so in the early church. In the first century, these women labored hard carrying out the work of the Lord."